Cycling the beautiful Mosel River


Heritage Trail and Four Mounds, Dubuque, IA

Submitted by mag on Thu, 08/25/2016 - 15:35

After leaving the High Trestle area, we drove all the way across the state (BIG state!) to Dubuque where we stayed at the lovely Four Mounds BNB overlooking the vast Mississippi. As soon as we checked in, we went down to the Heritage Trail where were lucky to meet up with Kevin who is knowledgeable about the Heritage Trail, the town of Dubuque and Four Mounds where he is one of the volunteers. If you ever get a chance to go to Dubuque you'll be surprised at how interesting it is - it's worth a journey just because the river is so scenic and interesting with the constant stream of tugs and barges locking through there.  Kevin led us through a bunch of construction and the directed us where to have an early dinner at the Marina on the "Flood Wall"  (what we would call a levy.  We learned that Iowans have their own names for things... no one knew what we meant by "Trail Head"...  they call them "Access Points" in Iowa.)  Anyway after riding around on the flood wall and watching a bunch of barges lock through, we had a great dinner at the Marina.  

Four Mounds was a "Gentlemans' Farm" estate built by a wealthy Dubuque family named Burden high on a steep bluff overlooking the river.  The older buildings go way back to 1909. The "Grey House" looks a bit grim and formidable, but we lucked out by winding up in the White House, which was built for the son and his wife Elizabeth. It's a charming cottage with a great view of the river. We had Frindy's Room - the eldest daughter's and we think in one of the nicest rooms at Four Mounds. The first night we were the only people in the White House and had the run of the place... huge kitchen and porch and lovely rooms. Lots of family photos taken in the house - even Frindy's wedding in 1956.  All the daughters moved away and Elizabeth bequeathed the entire estate to Dubuque in 1982, but the city couldn't afford to maintain it properly. Frindy's son eventually returned to Dubuque and started a foundation to restore the estate and operate it as a BNB and conference center.  He also founded a number of other foundations, reviving old neighborhoods and teaching high school students how to restore old buildings - really changing the face of Dubuque.   

The next day we pedaled a good portion of the Heritage Trail which is very scenic, shady and interesting.  I had to take a break along the way to listen in on a Rails to Trails Webinar.  Friday had a rather long drive back to Michigan.